Bebo's Girl (Ragazza di Bube). 1964. Italy. Directed by Luigi Comencini. In Italian; English subtitles. 106 min.
Screenplay by Comencini, Marcello Fondato, based on a novel by Carlo Cassola. With George Chakiris, Claudia Cardinale, Marc Michel, Dany Paris. At the end of World War II, shallow, self-centered Mara (Cardinale) is the prettiest girl in her small Italian village; Bebo (Chakiris) is a Communist partisan who is finding it difficult to adjust to the dull banalities of life in peacetime. When Mara’s father, a passionate Communist, declares that his daughter will marry the returning hero, her reactions range from joy to bitter resentment, as director Comencini—one of the greats of Italian comedy, here deftly turning his hand to drama—traces her development from a flighty adolescent into a mature woman. Though dubbed in Italian, Chakiris creates a stirring portrayal though posture and movement as the dazzling but deeply flawed Bebo, who seems to lose his heroic dimensions as Mara’s grow. Preserved print from the Cineteca Nazionale, Rome; courtesy Cristaldi Films.